I was pleased to see the excellent letter, “Facts” by Ken Vickerstaff, Chairman of the Facilities Steering Committee for School District 50Jt in last week’s SUN. This defense of the committee’s recommendations to the School Board and the correction of some specific misleading information published in earlier letters was long overdue.
Readers didn’t have to go far to find other examples of such misleading letters. On the previous page are two such letters, “Interest” and “Death Knell.”
“Interest” by Ray Larsen contains the following statement: “The new taxes will be added to most mortgage payments. Considering the condition of the local real estate market, making mortgage payments higher, regardless of the reason, will further slow sales. Current homeowners who are still paying their mortgage will be making a higher monthly payment.” Anyone who doesn’t know that property taxes are not added to mortgage payments should not be writing for the purpose of influencing the public. Once I read this, any credibility I had been willing to see in Larsen’s argument vanished.
“Death Knell” by Michael McCrudden is totally about the “what ifs” the components of the proposed solution to inadequate school facilities don’t work the way planned. Paragraph after paragraph, all nine of them, deals with a different “what if.” Not one word is about the reasons why we are being asked to approve Ballot Issue 3B.
Quoting the first paragraph, “The school tax will be Pagosa’s death knell: no matter how well intended the action of the school board in seeking this tax, it will deal a death blow to the already weak local economy. Every tax dollar paid in this school tax will come from the pockets of local workers, property owners and small businesses.” Since it is a property tax, all of it will come from property owners.
Quoting the last paragraph, “To spend money which we don’t have and saddle the community with huge debt will be our death knell.” Since my wife, Betty and I moved here in 1974 for me to fill a vacancy in the high school, we have seen the elementary school enlarged at least twice; the high school (now the junior high school) greatly enlarged by building new rooms, laboratories, business office, library and gymnasium completely surrounding the existing building; and the present, beautiful high school. In all of these responses to inadequate school facilities, we spent money we didn’t have in a manner similar to the proposal in Ballot Issue 3B. If any of them were “death knells,” I haven’t recognized it.
Betty was the secretary to middle school principals seven of the ten years I was teaching in the high school. We have been there and done that. So we may be biased in favor of school employees and our elected school board. But there is no doubt in our minds that it is the obligation of the adults in the community to see that the children get the best education we can possibly give them. And that can best be done by providing them with adequate facilities.
Community center facilities coordinator Cristin Robertson cancelled the very popular and free Zumba class. Sadly, it was based on miscommunications, problem solving, managerial skills and professionalism. All issues had solutions, no need to cancel Zumba.
The class grew to 45 participants, and everyone — small/large, young/old — absolutely loved the exuberant and dedicated teacher, Debbie, and her Latin American dance class. We lost weight, inches, stress, gained strength, stamina, confidence. This class was a real asset to the health of Pagosa citizens.
Debbie pointed out that the heat in the gym (apparently due to inadequate cooling) could cause sickness and potential legal action. Staff interpreted this as a lawsuit threat and cancelled Zumba. Solution: suspend the class during the summer. By the way, other classes and even walking and falling could also cause legal action.
Other minor issues existed that had been resolved prior to cancellation, but caused animosity by staff towards the class, participants and especially the instructor. Cristin told participants that she was OK with the class, but Debbie was not welcome.
Acting as class spokesperson, I asked the town manager to please reconsider and restart the class. He promised to get back to me, but never did, and never returned Debbie’s four phone calls.
I thought that the community center was there to serve the community and not its own employees.
Ken Vickerstaff is correct, 3B is not a political party issue. One must wonder why he was so quick to point out that I am the “Republican Party chairman” and the Republican Party voted to “not take an official stand on the issue.” He also lamented the lack of facts in many Letters to the Editor and cited a “common thread of the opponents is that they don’t have the real facts.” I’ve found the proponent letters to be the ones light on facts. I guess he really means “the Pro-facts.”
This reminds me of my daughter when she was five, rushing to tell me the “Right Truth,” as opposed to the “Wrong Truth” her older brother was about to give me. So, let’s examine some facts Vickerstaff would like to see.
The Republicans did have an open meeting at noon at Boss Hogg’s in Pagosa Springs (not after 6 p.m. at the Broadmoor in Colorado Springs), where they actually invited proponents and opponents to speak. They voted to not take an “Official” position on any of the ballot issues. While I have opposed these ill-advised tax increases, at no time have I represented myself as the “Chairman” of Archuleta Republicans or implied that I am presenting an “Official” position.
The Steering Committee recommended building a 21st century K-8 building and not investing in a remodel of the existing buildings. One of the primary considerations listed by the district in their decision was the poor condition of the K-8 buildings, so maintenance seems relevant.
I was surprised when I could not find the 300-item summary spreadsheet cited in the Facility Master Plan (FMP) on page 8. It was not “presented in the Facility Assessments section of this Plan” where it was supposed to be. I asked Superintendent DeVoti for a copy on Sept. 30. He did not have it, either, and had to ask the Blythe Group for a copy which he provided to me on Oct. 8, approximately 3 1/2 years after the report was delivered.
I wonder if the Steering Committee looked at the 300-line item summary spreadsheet to evaluate the costs of repairs before they made their recommendation that it would be too costly to repair these buildings. I don’t know, since the source of all these facts has been less than transparent in producing anything other than the “Pro-facts” and these are definitely “Wrong-facts.”
I’m sure there was a copy of the list somewhere in the school system — maybe the maintenance supervisor has it. Maybe all of the priority items have been repaired — who knows — we certainly don’t because those are “Wrong-facts” the district has not chosen to share with us regular folks.
More facts — there are 671 properties in the county with delinquent property taxes ranging from under $40 to over $47,000 — so much for “a few more tax dollars won’t hurt anyone.” Actually, the facts we don’t have from the district include: what will be built; will it include tilapia farms or gyms; will surrounding streets be upgraded; how many businesses will close; will the impact on the overall district budget mean new teachers cannot be hired; and will future bond issues, aimed at real educational improvements, go unfunded while we pay off this debt?
Your editorial of Oct. 20, 2011, contains at least six items of reform. It is encouraging that you mention them.
Yes, the primary motive of most legislators seems to be to get re-elected. How do they aim to accomplish this? By promising more to their constituents than the nation can afford.
Their solution? To produce more money than is collected in taxes.
This is called inflation. A definition of inflation is, “the increase in the money supply greater than the increase in goods and services.”
This puts too much money in circulation, which then decreases the value of the dollar. This reduces the value of your paycheck and savings, and results in higher prices.
Inflation, as we all know, has been going on for decades, especially since the last ties to the gold standard were cut.
No — inflation is not caused by greedy businessmen increasing their prices. But prices must rise in dollar figures for businesses to survive.
The last four years has seen the most rapid increase in the inflated money supply due to bank and industry ”bailouts,” failed stimulus packages and the like. If continued at the present rate, we could see hyperinflation, or the total destruction of the currency.
Politicians have been proudly saying “no new taxes” and “no tax increases” (this is changing now), but hiding behind the steadily increasing inflation, which is really a tax in itself!
A word about voting: I have rarely voted for a winning cadidate, and am tired of being told to vote for “the lesser of two evils.” My conscience tells me to vote for a candidate who I believe will be honest and will uphold and obey the U.S. Constitution.
This letter is in reference to the letter to the editor from Nicole Kelsheimer appearing in the Oct. 27, 2011 (online edition) indicating that she will not support businesses that advertise with Pagosa Daily Post due to Mr. Hudson’s opinion on Ballot Issue 3B. I find her logic twisted. Why should she (or anyone else) not support said businesses when, if passed, these same businesses will be burdened with extra taxes to finance the construction of the very mega-campus she is indeed supporting? Way to go, gal! Let’s not support these businesses that may or may not have any opinion with respect to the this ballot issue what so ever. Let’s further decrease sales tax revenue in the county and let’s give a kick in the arse and further push these barely surviving businesses over the edge, contributing to the already increasing blight of empty storefronts and buildings in a decaying town. Shame on you, Ms. Kelsheimer, for your lack of insight and short-sightedness.
Reference Pagosa SUN 10/13/11, Roads.
Magnesium chloride was not to be used in order to save money. It wasn’t long ago I was reading no magnesium chloride. Now magnesium chloride is factored in at a rate of about $500,000 in the road fund. Let’s clean up this community and save road money at the same time. As well as protect the environment and protect the ground water from runoff.
No on magnesium chloride.